HUMAN RESOURCES | Staff Reporter, UK

Wagamama chief Emma Woods to step down

Thomas Heier will assume the CEO position by 1 June.

Wagamama chief executive Emma Woods announced will step down from the role and hand over the reins to Thomas Heier, the chain’s chief experience officer.

Heier, an internally appointed successor, will start the role from 1 June.

Woods, who joined Wagamama as its customer director at the start of 2017, will remain as an inaugural member of its brand board.

Outside of Wagamama, she has been a non-executive director of The Gym Group since 2016, and is taking on its senior independent director and chair of Remco responsibilities in May.

“It has been an honour to lead the Wagamama business through the last tumultuous years, but as the business emerges from the pandemic and starts an exciting new chapter, it feels the right time to hand on the chopsticks to someone I know loves the brand as much as I do," Woods said.

"I am delighted to be able to continue to support Wagamama as I develop a wider advisory portfolio.”

“The excellent performance of Wagamama under Emma’s leadership speaks for itself," added Andy Hornby, CEO of The Restaurant Group, which owns the brand.

"Over the last three years Wagamama has constantly out-performed the market, improved our customer perception scores and shown continual innovation especially around food quality.”

"Perhaps, most importantly, morale levels in the restaurant teams are higher than ever despite the impact of Covid. Emma therefore leaves with all of our thanks and I am delighted that she is staying involved with the business via her membership of the advisory brand board,” he added.

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